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I am so impressed by how well brands are messaging these days. People are spending the money and devoting the resources required to create compelling and engaging social media posts, not only just on Facebook but also on LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Google+. There’s a problem, however: while I am impressed with the quality, generosity, and creativity of the posts as well as the kindness and responsiveness of the replies to queries via social media, is it money well-spent if the room is virtually empty?

Arguably, Off-Off-Broadway is the best: most creative, most daring, with the best unknown writers, directors, and actors — pure talent; additionally, we have all heard stories of Off-Off making it to Off and then hitting it big with Broadway (for you sports fans it’s similar to Double-A to  Triple-A to major league baseball); however, the only thing that gets you from Off-Off-Broadway to Broadway is audience, ticket sales, and bottom line.

In the world of accountability and business, it’s not good enough to be critical sensation if you can’t sell tickets. The same thing can be said for social media: you may be wasting your money and talent if you’re performing for an empty house.

All that is required is some basic prospecting. Think of it as Twitter-development. What you need to do is spend a little less time being the most charming, gregarious, passionate, and service-oriented so-and-so in your empty room (and anything under 10,000 followers is effectively a waste of your company’s talent and treasure, unless you’re truly just a mom-and-pop shop), and more time getting off your captivating duff and “get out there” to look for all of your natural allies, your current customers, the folks who would love you if they knew about you, as well as all the people who are already loving on your direct competition (actually, Twitter makes this pretty easy, check this out — just plug in your competitor’s Twitter handle et voilà!)


offoffbroadwayUnfortunately, quite a few big brands, both national and regional, are tweeting to the equivalent of an empty room, and that’s a pity because Twitter alone has 200 million monthly active users, many of whom would blissfully engage with you and your brand online. And it’s not their fault that they’re not following you, it’s your fault — and I addressed the issue in a previous post, Being Pretty Isn’t Enough for Social Media Marketing — and please forgive me for being audacious enough to quote my previous article shamelessly here:

“In order to compete on a world stage, it is essential to aggressively recruit new members. Not just new members, but passionate, enthusiastic, members who will do what you expected Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to do for you in the first place: create firestorms of buzz and word-of-mouth influence. To become a channel of primary, secondary, and tertiary influence that result in your members sharing your content on their walls, resulting on an organic growth, ultimately snowballing into massive conversions and stellar online sales.

Do some research and you’ll find out, to your astonishment, that a majority of those viral videos with over a million views were not “upload it to YouTube and they will come.” Most of them skyrocketed as the direct result of some form of publicity campaign, be it grass roots or from an agency.

Be the catalyst of your natural social media success. Take your fate into your own hands and get off of that bar stool and walk over and start some conversations with all the folks you want to meet. This can include a long-tail blogger outreach campaign, it should include an A-list influencer outreach, be they on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever.

Membership in your community is a later stage of the hearts-and-minds campaign in which you need to engage. Just collecting Likes or Follows doesn’t often result in engagement. If you spend any time on your Facebook Page Insights, which you do, you’ll understand how important performance is to the success of your social media campaign. You need both quantity and quality of Likes. I won’t kid you: more is better; however, if you have hundreds of thousands of Likes on your Facebook Page but have negligible engagement in your posts in the form of likes and comments, then you will not earn the sort of gravity and popularity to elbow on your members’ Facebook Wall.

If you ’re able to prospect passionate followers by going out there to where they live — on their own blogs, forums, Listservs, social networks, and communities — to find them, recruit them, convert them, and win them over, then you’ll start seeing the true power of world-of-mouth marketing.”

broadway-theaterThere are some theatre snobs who believe that one doesn’t want to water-down the purity of the right theatre-goers — those precious few who really get it, truly love it, and are true blue — with the rabble: the bridge and tunnel crowd, the busses coming in from Jersey full of retirees, the tourists from the flyover states! I mean, isn’t that just pearls to swine?

No, it is indeed not. And how dare you!

I was an English Major in college with a minor in creative writing. I was always participating in poetry readings and submitting to poetry journals. What I noticed is that the only people who attended poetry readings and who read poetry journals are other poets and students of poetry.

While it may very well be fulfilling to keep the tribe tight and to prevent outsiders from entering and maybe disrupting a perfectly-balanced boat, I believe that every poet would really prefer to be as influential to our popular culture, both lyrically and politically, as Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson.

So, while every social media conference still, to this day, argues quality over quantity, I say that one needs both, erring on the side of quantity.

Why? Because all of us here err on the side of being insufferable snobs verging on having deep contempt for our very own customers! So, if you’re able to find your secret sauce that gives you the sort of quantity you and your success needs then you’re probably on the correct track towards getting over yourself and embracing the essential nature to your success.

broadway_theaterYour ten-year-long run is more based on embracing the bussed-in blue-haired retirees, the tourists visiting from Omaha, the rich poseurs in from Connecticut, the bridge and tunnel crowd, the enriching school field trip matinee, the couple there only because he wants to impress her, and the horde of Gleeks who’re indulging their inner Rachel — these are your people, these people pay for the house lights and for the show to go on.

So, please stop wasting all that talent! Take some of that time you’re already allocating and either double it or half it and use the other half to go out there and fill those seats with warm behinds, and do it now before you boss closes the show with extreme prejudice when it doesn’t positively effect the bottom line.

And when that does happen, don’t you blame the people, blame yourself. You’re the one who chose quality over quantity, whatever that means.

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Chris Abraham

About Chris Abraham

A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.

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